07/02/2014 - 16:07

Caratti to gain control of Elders forestry assets

07/02/2014 - 16:07

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Perth businessman Allen Caratti is set to gain control of a forestry investment trust previously held by Elders after the trust's shareholders approved the deal.

Caratti to gain control of Elders forestry assets

Perth businessman Allen Caratti is set to gain control of a forestry investment trust previously held by Elders after the trust's shareholders approved the deal.

Shareholders in Elders' listed investment vehicle Agricultural Land Trust today voted in favour of amendments to the trust's constitution, which will allow Elders to cancel the bulk of its majority share in the trust.

The trust owns properties it leases to Elders for growing plantation timber, and uses the rent collected from Elders to repay debt owed to a syndicate of lenders.

The percentage ownership of every other ALT shareholder will approximately double upon settlement of the Elders sale, lifting the holding of companies controlled by or associated with Mr Caratti from 26 per cent to 49 per cent. 

In addition, an entity associated with Mr Caratti has agreed to subscribe for $2 million worth of rights, pushing Mr Caratti's interests in the trust above the 50 per cent mark.

However, plans for a separate entity linked to Mr Caratti to take over as the responsible entity for the trust were this morning terminated in a decision that is understood to have been linked to shareholder concerns.

Tom Pascarella, the chairman of the trust's responsible entity, Agricultural Land Management, told Business News a long-term solution with respect to the responsible entity role was yet to be determined.

Elders has also agreed to surrender its leasehold interests in the historic Linkletters property in Esperance, to pay ALT about $4.5 million and to forgive about $8.5 million of debt owed by ALT under the transaction. 

Mr Caratti has indicated he plans to convert the Linkletters land so it can be used for grazing and cropping purposes.

ALT shareholders had been due to vote on the transaction in December but the meeting was rescheduled on two separate occasions.

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